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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 March 2007, 01:24 GMT
Hamas militant shot dead in Gaza
Funeral procession of Mohammad al-Kafarna
Hamas has vowed revenge for al-Kafarna's death
A commander of Palestinian militant group Hamas has been killed during a gun battle with rival faction Fatah in the northern Gaza Strip.

It is the first such fatality since a Saudi-mediated ceasefire between the groups was signed a month ago.

The man was killed in the town of Beit Hanoun after a shoot-out between the two factions.

Each side blamed the other for starting the violence, which shook the town with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

Ambush claim

The clashes happened just hours after Prime Minister Ismail Haniya of Hamas said the members of a newly-agreed unity government would be announced in the coming days.

The Hamas fighter killed was identified as Mohammad al-Kafarna, a member of the group's Executive Force.

Hamas said that he was killed after Fatah fighters ambushed the vehicle he was travelling in.

But a Fatah spokesman said that shots had initially been fired by Hamas gunmen on a car carrying members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade.

The agreement between the two groups, signed on 8 February in the Saudi city of Mecca, had brought a fragile end to factional fighting, which has claimed more than 90 Palestinian lives since December.

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